Kent professor Alex Stevens says everyone should be allowed to grow cannabis
A top university professor says people should legally be allowed
to grow their own cannabis.
Drug expert Alex Stevens claims anyone aged over 18 should have
the right to cultivate up to six plants each.
He made the comments after the release this week of an
independent report by the UK Drug Policy Commission.
The controversial report says possession of small amounts of
controlled drugs should no longer be a criminal offence.
It came as figures showed more than 300 cannabis production
offences were recorded each week across the country.
Professor Stevens, an expert in criminal justice at the
University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social
Research, said: “Those left with a criminal record for possession
of a small quantity of cannabis will find the criminal record does
far more damage than the drug did.
“The first stage in reforming drug policy that is actually
harmful would be to decriminalise possession.
"Anyone should be able to grow six plants at any one
time. We are spending too much on drug policies that cause harm, or
have little evidence of preventing harm.”
But Canterbury MP Julian Brazier, a firm opponent of any
relaxation of drug policy, slammed the suggestion.
He said: “First offences are not usually severely punished
anyway. Any change in law would send completely the wrong
“Cannabis today is not the same, so I’m told, as it was 30 years
ago when my contemporaries were taking it.
"The reason why we are having such a massive rise in mental
health issues among the young is in no small part down to the
widespread use of drugs.”
But dad-of-two Professor Stevens hit back. He said: “The links
between cannabis and mental illness are far less clear cut than
most people believe.
"Besides, a regulated market would mean people would have access
to less strong cannabis. And many who move on to
harder drugs do so after their dealer offers them something
“The UKDPC’s recommendations to review the punishments for drug
supply and to harmonise regulation of alcohol, tobacco and other
drugs are sensible and timely.
“I wouldn’t want my children to be taking cannabis before they
are 18 any more than I would want them to be drinking.
"But the fact is that government policy is not going to prevent
that - that is down to how you talk about things as a parent.”
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